US 20070051885 A1
An image sensor has an imager die onto which is adhered an optical spacer. The imager die and optical spacer may be supported by a dam-and-fill construction which allows light to pass through the optical spacer and onto the imager die. The image sensor may generate control signals for use in a variety of automatic vehicle equipment controls and may be incorporated into an automotive vehicle such as by inclusion into a rearview mirror assembly.
1. A rearview mirror assembly for an automotive vehicle comprising:
a printed circuit board disposed within the housing;
an image sensor affixed to the printed circuit board, the image sensor including
an imager die including a plurality of pixels operative to capture an image, the imager die affixed to the substrate;
at least one optical spacer directly adhered to the imager die above the plurality of pixels, the at least one optical spacer substantially transparent to light from the captured image, the at least one optical spacer having sides extending from the imager die, a bottom surface immediately across from the plurality of pixels, and a top surface opposite from the bottom surface;
a dam forming a wall substantially around the imager die, the dam forming a fill region within the dam; and
fill material disposed within the fill region, the fill material covering a portion of the imager die and at least a portion of the optical spacer sides but not covering the optical spacer top surface.
2. The rearview mirror assembly of
3. The rearview mirror assembly of
4. The rearview mirror assembly of
5. The rearview mirror assembly of
6. The rearview mirror assembly of
7. An image sensor for use in an automotive vehicle, the image sensor comprising:
an imager die having a top side and a bottom side, the top side including a plurality of pixels operative to capture an image, the imager die bottom side affixed to the substrate such that the plurality of pixels receives light from a direction opposite of the substrate;
an optically transparent adhesive on the imager die top side;
at least one optically transparent spacer directly adhered to the imager die by the optically transparent adhesive;
a dam forming a wall substantially around the imager die; and
fill material disposed within the dam wall, the fill material covering a portion of the imager die and at least a portion of the optically transparent spacer;
whereby the plurality of pixels captures the image by receiving light through the optically transparent adhesive and through the optically transparent spacer.
8. The image sensor of
9. The image sensor of
10. The image sensor of
11. The image sensor of
12. A method of making an image sensor for use in an automotive vehicle, the method comprising:
adhering an imager die to a substrate, the imager die including a plurality of pixels;
adhering a bottom surface of at least one optically transparent optical spacer to the imager die above the plurality of pixels;
depositing a damning material substantially around the imager die so as to form a fill region;
depositing a fill material in the fill region, the fill material covering the imager die and a portion of the optical spacer not including a top surface of the optical spacer;
whereby light passes through the optical spacer top surface and the optical spacer bottom surface to reach the plurality of pixels.
13. The method of making the image sensor of
14. The method of making the image sensor of
depositing an optically clear epoxy onto the imager die;
pressing the optical spacer onto the optically clear epoxy; and
curing the optically clear epoxy.
15. The method of making the image sensor of
laying down a first ring of damming material; and
laying down a second ring of damming material on top of the first ring of damming material.
16. The method of making the image sensor of
17. The method of making the image sensor of
18. The method of making the image sensor of
19. The method of making the image sensor of
20. An automatic vehicle equipment control, comprising:
an imager die carried on a substrate, the imager die generating an electrical signal based on light striking the imager die;
an optical spacer proximate the imager die, the optical spacer comprising a bottom surface, a top surface and sides extending from the bottom surface to the top surface;
a dam material carried on the substrate substantially surrounding the imager die; and
a fill material disposed between the dam material and the sides of the optical spacer, whereby at least one vehicle equipment control signal is provided by the imager die based on light traveling through the optical spacer.
21. The automatic vehicle equipment control of
22. The automatic vehicle equipment control of
23. The automatic vehicle equipment control of
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/715,315 filed Sep. 8, 2005, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
Many vehicle equipment control systems have been proposed that incorporate imaging systems and related processors. Vehicle exterior light control systems using a camera and image processing system have been developed and disclose in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,837,994, 5,990,469, 6,008,486, 6,130,448, 6,130,421, 6,049,171, 6,465,963, 6,403,942, 6,587,573, 6,611,610, 6,621,616, 6,631,316 and U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 10/208,142, 09/799,310, 60/404,879, 60/394,583, 10/235,476, 10/783,431, 10/777,468, 09/800,460 and 60/590,736; the disclosures of which are incorporated herein in their entireties by reference. In these systems, images are acquired of the view forward of a motor vehicle. In at least one embodiment, an image sensor is optically coupled to the interior surface of the windshield such that reflections and/or refraction from the interior windshield surface is substantially eliminated. These images are processed to determine the presence or absence of oncoming or preceding vehicles and the controlled vehicles exterior lights are adjusted, for example by turning off the high beams, to prevent glare to the drivers of other vehicles. Several of these disclosed systems provide multiple equipment functions such as moisture sensing and windshield wiper control, heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) control, lane departure systems, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance and/or reconstruction systems, security systems, etc.
Moisture sensing, windshield wiper and HVAC controls are described in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,923,027 and 6,617,566 as well as U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 09/970,728 and 60/472,017, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
With reference to
As described in detail herein, the controlled vehicle may comprise at least one control system incorporating various components that provide shared function with other vehicle equipment. An example of one control system integrates various components associated with automatic control of the reflectivity of at least one rearview mirror element and automatic control of at least one exterior light. Such systems 115 may comprise at least one image sensor within a rearview mirror, an A-pillar 150 a, 150 b, a B-pillar 155 a, 155 b, a C-pillar 160 a, 160 b, a CHMSL, or elsewhere within or upon the controlled vehicle. Images acquired, or portions thereof, maybe used for automatic vehicle equipment control. The images, or portions thereof, may alternatively, or additionally, be displayed on one or more displays. At least one display may be covertly positioned behind a transflective, or at least partially transmissive, electro-optic element. A common controller may be configured to generate at least one mirror element drive signal and at least one other equipment control signal.
An image sensor for use in automatic vehicle equipment control may be constructed as an imager die onto which is adhered an optical spacer. The imager die and optical spacer may be supported by a dam-and-fill construction which allows light to pass through the optical spacer and onto the imager die. The image sensor may generate control signals for use in a variety of automatic vehicle equipment controls, such as an automatic exterior light control system, a moisture sensing system, a windshield wiper control, a defroster control, a defogger control, a lane departure detection system, a lane departure warning system, a security system, a vision system, a rear vision system, a mirror dimming system, an occupancy detection system, a monitoring system, a collision avoidance system, an accident recreation system, an image acquisition system, and the like. The image sensor may be used in an automotive vehicle such as by incorporation into a rearview mirror assembly.
Turning now to
Turning now to
An automotive vehicle imaging system may be configured as described in
As depicted in
The overall image sensor resolution is 176×144 pixels. However, the array is split in two halves, each of which images substantially the same scene but one half does so through a spectral filter. Each half uses a sub-window of pixels, for example 144 pixels wide by 50 pixels high. In one embodiment, the unfiltered half may be used for lane detection. The field of view is preferably approximately 0.2 degrees per pixel. The lane detection algorithm preferably operates on the lower region of the image, for example the bottom 15 rows, and does not necessarily utilize all columns. It should be understood that the following and subsequent examples may be applied to various image sensors with various resolutions and various optical configurations. As costs of image sensors and processors decrease, it may be advantageous to use an image sensor with higher resolution and a wider field of view, for example 50 degrees or more. The wider field of view will allow a larger aim correction, better detection of vehicles around curves, and tolerance to a wider range of windshield angles.
Image sensors and image processing systems are increasingly being employed to perform a wide variety safety and convenience functions in motor vehicles. Examples of such functions include vision assistance, headlamp control, rain sensing, lane departure warning, collision avoidance, sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control. In some cases, where the fields of view needed for the application are similar or overlap, it is desirous to use a single camera to perform more than one of these or other functions. A single camera will require less physical space and may be less expensive than using multiple dedicated cameras.
While the use of a single camera to perform multiple functions is initially appealing, there are several technical and commercial obstacles complicating this goal. Many of the applications listed above require a field of view substantially in front of the vehicle, however the requirements of the camera are substantially different. A headlamp control system, which identifies the headlamps and tail lamps of oncoming and preceding vehicles, requires a field of view of 30° to 50°, a resolution of approximately 5-10 pixels per degree, very high intra-scene dynamic range (i.e. the ability to sense a wide variety of light levels within a single image), very accurate color measurement for point light sources, and a frame rate of approximately 5 frames per second. A lane departure warning system requires a field of view of approximately 25° to 35°, a resolution of greater than 5 pixels per degrees, a wide inter-scene dynamic range to adapt to varying daytime and nighttime light levels, and a frame rate of approximately 10 frames per second. A sign recognition system requires a narrower field of view of view but a very high resolution of greater than 20 pixels per degree.
Automotive image sensors may be incorporated into an electronic subassembly as depicted in
Turning now to
It should be understood that the image sensor subassembly as described with reference to
Referring now to
Referring now to
The optical spacer is diced, as in block 902. The optical spacer is preferably made of glass, though a substantially transparent plastic material such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and the like, may also be used. The size of the optical spaces is dependent upon several design parameters, including the number of spacers to be used with each imager, the imager size, the spacer material, the desired focal or spacing length (i.e., thickness of the spacer), the imaging application, and the like. In an embodiment of the present invention, the optical spacer is glass and is dimensioned to cover the imaging portion of the optical die. For example, the optical spacer has a length of 3.43 mm, a width of 2.95 mm, and a thickness of between 0.55 mm and 5 mm depending upon the application. The optical spacer may include as a bulk property or may be coated on one or more sides with material that affects the optical properties of the optical spacer. This allows reducing electromagnetic radiation in undesirable frequencies while leaving the optical spacer substantially transparent to electromagnetic radiation desired to form an image on the image sensor.
The optical spacer is preferably diced such that there are minimal scallops, chips, or edge defects. Mechanical defects in the optical spacer surfaces may promote subsequent cracking after dam and fill. Dicing tape may be used to limit mechanical damage. Techniques for cutting the optical spacer depend upon the spacer material, size, shape, equipment to be used, and the like. In one embodiment, the glass may be cut with a 400 grit 0.006 inch (0.15 mm) thick resin/diamond composite blade with a minimum of 1.6 mm of exposure. The spindle should be run at 45,000 rpm with a wafer feed rate of 1.5 mm/second. The water flow should be 1.3 to 1.5 liters/minute for all settings.
Following dicing, the optical spacer must be free of foreign material (e.g., anything not belonging on the surface by design, or design intent) and particulates prior to joining these two elements at the wafer mounting operation.
As an alternative to dicing, the optical spacer may be molded or otherwise formed into the desired shape.
The substrate is cleaned, as in block 904. The substrate may be, for example, a printed wiring board (PWB). Surfaces should be free of flux and fingerprint residue to permit reliable die attach and wire bond interfaces. As is well known in the art, a variety of cleaning equipment and techniques are available, such as from Crest Ultrasonics of Trenton, N.J.
The imager die is attached to the substrate, as in block 906. In a preferred embodiment, the die attach adhesive is capable of withstanding the processing and stresses of the dam and fill material. This die attach material may be a one component, solvent-free epoxy chip adhesive such as Ablebond 84-3 from Ablestik of Rancho Dominguez, Calif. The die may also be attached with a snap cure epoxy such as Ablestik 2035SC. The assembly is cleaned, prior to wire bonding using a process such as, for example, plasma cleaning, as is known in the art. The imager die may then be wire bonded to the substrate or wire bonding may occur later, as in block 912.
Optical spacer attach material is dispensed, as in block 908. The optical spacer attach material is preferably an optically clear, unfilled material such as, for example, a single component, B-stage clear epoxy such as Epo-tek MA-5 from Epoxy Technology, Inc., of Billerica, Mass. The optical spacer attach material may also be a UV cure material such as Light Weld® 429 from Dymax Corp. of Torrington, Conn. The dispense may be performed by writing an “X” pattern or dispensing in a pattern of five dots in the shape of an “X” on the top surface of the imaging portion of the optical die. If written in an “X” pattern, a central dot is formed then four consecutive lines, beginning at the outer extremes and terminating in the center (adding to the central mass). When utilizing the five dot approach, the central dot is preferably the largest in diameter and/or the greatest in height. Precautions should be taken to prevent foreign material from becoming entrapped on the top surface of the optical die or in the adhesive after dispensing.
The optical spacer is attached, as in block 910. The optical spacer is preferably placed immediately after the dispense of the optical spacer adhesive to prevent skinning-over of the adhesive and subsequent incorporation of visual anomalies into the cured interface as well as to minimize the potential for entrapment of foreign material. Placement velocity should be slow enough to allow the adhesive front to wet the interfaces while moving to the perimeter of the optical spacer. Placement force should be repeatable within ±10% and adjustable within a range of 75-250 grams. The placement force should be of sufficient magnitude and duration to assure that the adhesive front progresses to the perimeter of the optical spacer. In one embodiment, a barely visible fillet is formed around three continuous sides of the optical spacer's perimeter. On the side of the chip without bond pads, the optical spacer is preferably flush with the edge of the imager die, not leaving room for a fillet. Preferably, the interface between the optical spacer and imager is completely filled with adhesive, with no voids or air bubbles. Preferably, the optical spacer attach fillet shall extends between 125 μm to 250 μm outward, or upward, on any surface. Excess material volume may cause the optical spacer location to shift uncontrollably during cure. Preferably, the optical spacer attach material does not flow out onto the wire bond areas. The optical attach material is preferably cured such as, for example, in a forced-air convection oven at a temperature of 150° C.±5° C. for between 30 and 60 minutes. Cure times and methodology depend on a variety of factors including attach material, optical spacer construction, imagine die construction, and the like.
Wire bonding electrical connections are made between the substrate and the imager die, as in block 912. Wire bonding techniques are well known in the art.
Damming material is dispensed, as in block 914. The dam creates a barrier to prevent the flow of the low viscosity fill material. Preferably, the dam is deposited beyond the primary wedge bonds and has a sufficient final height to allow the fill to cover the highest points of the wire loops and some portion of the optical spacer element placed on the optical die. Placement of the dam is may be based upon avoiding obstacles such as devices, wires and chip components, but may also be serve to plug any vias or anchor holes within the fill region. Preferably, the dam material allows for the creation of a tall, narrow dam having the robustness to retain its shape and contain the fill material during cure. For example, Hysol FP4451TD available from Henkel Loctite Corp. of Rocky Hill, Conn., may be used.
In one embodiment, the dam may be created in a two step sequence. The first step is to lay down a complete ring of the damming material to a height of approximately 0.89 mm. The corresponding width of the damming deposit should be approximately 1.52-1.78 mm at the base. The second step is to lay down another ring of damming material (on top of the first) to an overall height of approximately 1.91 mm. Additional layers may be used as needed. The distance from the center-line of the dispense needle (18 Ga needle) to the edge of the device should be 0.060-0.080 inches (1.52-2.03 mm). While not necessary, the substrate may be warmed during the dispense of the damming material, allowing for an increase in linear dispense speed. Pre-heat temperatures of 50-70° C. substrate surface temperature may be used. If warming is used, it is preferential to warm the substrate and not the damming material itself. Heat may also be applied to the valve/needle assembly. As is known in the art, a time/pressure dispense system can be used for this application.
Damming material that is dispensed onto the substrate is preferably filled within the next four hours and cured immediately thereafter. If it is known that there will be more than about a 1-2 hour delay between dam and fill operations, the dammed product is preferably stored in a nitrogen cabinet until available for the filling operation or the damming operation is delayed until immediately before the anticipated fill operation.
Fill material is dispensed, as in block 916. Preferably, the substrate is warmed during the dispense of fill material to minimize the apparent viscosity of the fill material. This reduces the potential for air entrapment beneath closely spaced groups of wire bonds, miscellaneous components, and the like. Pre-heat temperatures of 50-70° C. at the surface of the substrate may be used. When warming, it is preferential to warm the substrate and not the fill material itself. As an alternative, or in addition to, heating the substrate, heat may be applied to the valve/needle assembly. The flow rate of the fill material during the dispense operation is at least in part, a function of the pre-heat temperature and the presence or absence of holes or other air entrapping objects. The speed at which the dispense needle moves is dependent at least in part on the rate at which the fill material wets the substrate and flows around obstacles on the substrate surface. The path used to dispense fill material may traverse partially around the device, then reverse direction briefly to allow the fill front to catch up, then resume forward motion. The entire fill operation may require two circuits around the device to form a consistent and uniform fill and associated fillet to the optical spacer. Preferably, the fill material completely covers all connecting wires. The meniscus of the fill material preferably terminates on the optical spacer within the upper-most 0.015 inch (0.38 mm), forming an included angle of 20-45° with the vertical facet of the optical spacer. The fill material may be, for example, Hysol FP4470 available from Henkel Loctite Corp. of Rocky Hill, Conn.
The dam and fill materials are cured, as in block 918. The damming material may be co-cured along with the fill material. Depending upon the dam and fill materials and the desired properties, a two step cure may be used. For example, the cure may include 50-60 minutes at 125±5° C. followed by 90-120 minutes at 165 ±5° C. In this example, the dammed and filled imager assemblies should begin curing within two hours of being filled. The assemblies may be inserted into an oven already at 125° C. or in an oven at room temperature followed by a temperature rise rate from 25° C. to 125° C. at less than 50° C./minute and an oven rise rate from 125° C. to 165° C. at 2-5° C./minute.
Various additional operations may follow. For example, one or more filters and/or lenses may be positioned above or upon the optical spacer. The imaging assembly may also be assembled onto a larger circuit board for inclusion within an automotive vehicle.
In one embodiment, a red/cyan filter is formed on at least one surface of the optical spacer, such as the top surface or the bottom surface. After cleaning the surface, photoresist is spun onto the surface. The photoresist is exposed to UV light through a cyan pattern contact mask then is developed. A cyan filter coating is then deposited on the surface. The photoresist is then removed to “lift off” the cyan filter coating from regions of the surface where the cyan filter is not desired. The process is repeated to form a red filter deposited on the surface. A blanket coating of a broadband antireflection (BBAR) material may then be applied to the surface. The use of photoresist and the application of filter and BBAR layers is well known in the art. The resulting optical spacer has two zones, each with differing optical properties. The same technique may be used to create any number of optical zones on a single optical spacer and/or to create optical spacers each having different optical properties.
One or more optical spacers may also be molded, machined, assembled, or otherwise formed to include one or more lenses. If a lens affects only a portion of the light passing through the optical spacer, the optical spacer will have optical zones each having different optical properties.
While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.